Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You A Radio "Iron Chef"?

The best radio talent understands how to mix everyday ingredients to create an exceptional recipe.  If you’re not familiar with Iron Chef America, you should study it.  All 4 chefs are given the same five ingredients and an hour to create a masterpiece.  The competition is fierce, fast paced and brutal.  Welcome to radio.  

Think about the content of your show.   You have access to the same “show prep” (ingredients) as your competition.  The secret to success (recipe)  is what you choose to use, how you present it and how much of the secret ingredient you share.   That secret ingredient is YOU.  No one else can duplicate that one.   Here is one “recipe” that I think can help you create a better masterpiece each day. 

I am a strong believer in the magic of threes.  Let’s break the content into three main categories:
Big Dumb Fun
Prank Calls
War of The Roses
Telemarketer Calls
Parody Songs
Trivia & Other Games
“Are You Kidding Me” News
On & Off-Air Stunts

Relationship Engagement
Between Spouses
With parents
With Friends
Between You & the Listener

Human Interest
Celebrity interviews
Hollywood & Music News
Overcoming Obstacles
TV Shows

The most universally relatable category is RELATIONSHIPS!  Everyone has them, most people want them and all of them require nurturing.  At least 50% of your ingredients each day should come from that category.  Big Dumb Fun is entertaining and can provide much needed laughs.  However, the appeal of this category is very subjective and should only comprise 20%.    Human interest is necessary so that your listeners are confident that you relevant and up to date on current events.  They rely on you to help them feel “in the know”.  It is the least “unique” of the three categories and therefore only warrants 30% of the mix.   All of this must be mixed with YOU as the bonding element.  

I put relationships at the center of this recipe because it is the core of what we do.    That is where you get the most “bang for your buck” in terms of listener interaction and emotional connection.  If you work a music format, the music is all about relationships and provides an easy springboard for topics.  Your own relationships and human experiences provide show prep.   The possibilities are endless: dating, marriages, raising kids, taking care of aging parents, building a business, etc.    Finding hot topics and letting people voice their opinions is extremely powerful.

Once you have the right recipe, think about your presentation.  Every 20 minutes there are new people joining the show.  You need something new for them to sample that demonstrates your ability to combine all of those ingredients into a perfect and delicious meal that they just can’t get enough of. You want them to walk away satisfied but wanting more.   Think of yourself as the Iron Chef and accept the challenge of creating a new masterpiece every day.